Science Serving Florida's Coasts

Florida Sea Grant works at the intersection of balancing coastal protection and economic development. For nearly 50 years, the program has leveraged federal and state resources to fund applied research, inform policy, train students and workers, and educate and engage citizens for more resilient communities.



miles of coastline, over


coastal residents, (77% of Florida's population), & over




Florida Sea Grant funds research that contributes to Healthy Coastal EcosystemsSustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture, and Resilient Communities and Economies.

New studies are examining solutions for harmful algal blooms, siting decisions for green infrastructure, improving fisheries and aquaculture, reducing marine debris and promoting spatial justice in revitalizing underserved coastal communities.

Featured Researcher

Dr. Michelle

Assistant Professor, Biology
University of Central Florida


Featured Projects


Learn more about FSG’s recent research, extension and education initiatives around the state.

Focus areas

East Coast



featured video

Eyes on

Program Expands Statewide

Seagrasses are being lost all over the world. Healthy and thriving seagrasses are vital to our Florida ecology and economy. Learn about Florida Sea Grant’s citizen science programs and opportunities for you to volunteer across the state.

In 2022, FSG awarded

$ 350000

in internships, scholarships and fellowships to


students working to address prominent coastal issues at


Florida universities.

Funding reflects the calendar year

featured product


Developed For Living Shorelines

The Partnership for Plastic-free Restoration of Oyster Shorelines, or PROS for short, is a network of practitioners, educators, and local government partners works toward implementing living shoreline projects using a newly developed plastic-free material called reef prisms. In 2022, Florida Sea Grant created an instructional video series on how to build plastic-free reef prisms which helped develop six new oyster restoration projects around Florida.



Supporting research, training, technical assistance, and coordination to help address resilience needs at the state and local levels.

hands holding clams

Sustainable Aquaculture

Supporting research, technical assistance, and outreach to producers, resource managers, and consumers to ensure the safety, quality, and profitability of cultured products.

group of children posing for photo

Championing Diversity

Supporting research, training, mentorship, and fellowship opportunities for underserved and underrepressented students and communities.

Florida Sea Grant

By The

From FY 2018-2021, a core federal investment in Florida Sea Grant of $10 million resulted in $80.5 million economic benefit.


Generated Economic benefit

For a return on investment of 7:1 over Florida Sea Grant’s core NOAA budget, the program has generated $80.5 million in direct economic impacts over the past four years. Recent projects include installing new artificial reefs, helping homeowners lower flood insurance premiums, providing discounted food safety training, increasing the profitability of shellfish aquaculture farmers, improving red snapper fingerling production, and certifying more Florida Friendly Fishing Guides to bolster sustainable recreational reef fishing.



Businesses sustained

Coastal and marine-dependent businesses are the focus of Extension programming statewide. In 2021-22, Florida Sea Grant Extension agents supervised interns working to remove bottlenecks to local aquaculture production through the HARVEST program (Helping Aquaculture Reap Value and Enhance Student Training), created a Living Shorelines Training for Marine Contractors program, and recruited nearly 100 new participants in the Florida Friendly Fishing Guides program to improve their marketing and environmental stewardship.

icon people


Jobs Sustained

In 2021-22, Florida Sea Grant’s boots-on-the-ground local programming – administered through 21 Extension agents working statewide – has increased the skills of employees in several industry sectors including recreational and commercial fishing, seafood wholesale and retail operations, aquaculture (especially for clam and oyster growers), and marine contracting businesses that seek to improve coastal resilience through increase use of nature-based shoreline reinforcement.



Florida Sea Grant will continue to offer a suite of participatory science (“Citizen Science”) programs that engage and educate individuals and collect data for managing key resources including horseshoe crabs, scallops, goliath grouper, corals, lionfish and seagrasses.

Our future objectives include to:


Reduce waste in coastal waters by removing storm debris (e.g., damaged boats), increase the number of “Clean Marinas”, and provide boaters with sewage disposal locations in real-time through the Pumpout Nav App.


Improve marine-based recreational experiences with a focus on offshore fishing and boating including information on how to handle and release fish, where to fish, current regulations, and reducing damage to seagrasses.


Develop and train users on economic assessment tools –for recreational and commercial fisheries, coastal risks and flood damage–and forecasts of harmful algal blooms or (HABs), including communicating HAB strategies.

Impacts to date from programming in support of FSG’s FY2018-2023 Strategic Plan

A group of snorkelers quietly observe manatees in Kings Bay

Resilient Communities and Economies

Florida Sea Grant’s legal program clarified ownership of bay water to enable planning and cleanup

Florida Sea Grant’s legal program responded to Crystal River’s request in helping balance the user group competition for maritime space in Kings Bay, a spring-fed watershed that serves as a refuge for hundreds of manatees. Florida Sea Grant’s legal program worked with the city in 2018 to research and identify a framework to manage ecotourism vendors, and resolve ownership of submerged land near Kings Bay. The program’s research helped the city adopt franchise contracts for vendors at city-based facilities, remove 54 derelict and at-risk vessels in 2021, and finalize the annexation of the bay to create anchoring zones for the limitation of anchoring in certain areas in 2022.

fish descending using a seaqualizer descending device

Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture

Florida Sea Grant launched “Return ‘Em Right” program with NOAA partners to educate and motivate recreational anglers in the Gulf of Mexico

Return ‘Em Right (RER) is a seven-year angler engagement and education campaign launched by Florida Sea Grant to reduce barotrauma in deep sea fish in the Gulf of Mexico (., reduce damage to fish that must be returned to the water). Two communicators and a human dimension scientist were hired to develop a website and social media content, provide sustainable saltwater angling techniques, and disseminate fish descending gear. Nearly 8,000 people visited the campaign’s website; its social media campaign reached an additional 90,000. Since its public launch in the summer of 2022, RER has provided training and gear to over 11,300 offshore anglers.

Large white sailboat with a faded blue deck rests high and dry as a result of Hurricane Michael.

Resilient Communities and Economies

Florida Sea Grant removed damaged vessels and large debris following Hurricane Michael

In 2020, Florida Sea Grant received a $3 million grant from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) to help restore marine ecosystems and communities by removing marine debris caused by Hurricane Michael. Before the cleanup, an emergency response team assessed 1,370 displaced vessels and mitigated 175. FSG worked with local partners to remove 2.28 million pounds of debris, including 38 vessels in Bay and Franklin Counties. A total of 28 acres was restored, alongside important coastal habitats such as Dog Island in Franklin County.

Sunray Venus Clams

Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture

Florida Sea Grant improved hatchery efficiency for sunray venus clam production

Florida Sea Grant optimized hatchery conditions for sunray venus clams, resulting in year-round spawning. Florida Sea Grant partnered with UF/IFAS Extension and Florida Atlantic University’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute to study the clam’s response to temperature, diet, feeding rates, and tank water replacement. The team found the hard clam commercial diet resulted in the highest survival rates and were able to maintain high genetic diversity. The team also determined that water in tanks only needs to be replaced every other day, resulting in an estimated labor savings of 6-8 hours per week.

Environmental Literacy & Workforce Development

Florida Sea Grant mobilized volunteer scientists to improve fisheries management

In 2021, Florida Sea Grant recruited, trained, and organized hundreds of volunteer scientists to collect data on fisheries and coastal species. In total, 5,766 bay scallops were protected in restoration cages managed by volunteer Scallop Sitters, 102 Horseshoe Crab Watch volunteers tagged and recorded data, and 168 Eyes on Seagrass surveyors monitored 100 stations in the Big Bend region. Fifty-eight volunteers from the Great Goliath Grouper Count (GGGC) collected data and counted 255 Goliath grouper in Florida. The data provided valuable information to agencies, benefiting taxpayers by reducing the burden on state-funded natural resource agencies. Data from the Great Goliath Grouper Count was also used by Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) when deciding to allow a limited goliath grouper recreational catch in 2023.

Environmental Literacy & Workforce Development

Florida Sea Grant heightened public awareness about offshore aquaculture

To advance public awareness and communicate the current state of knowledge about offshore aquaculture, Florida Sea Grant partnered with Ocean Era on the Velella Epsilon Project, a proposed pioneering offshore aquaculture project, which is striving to establish the first net pen in the Gulf of Mexico. This project plans to deploy and operate a single, small-scale demonstration fish net pen to collect data to inform policymakers, the public, and fishing industry interests about offshore aquaculture while documenting the process within a Manual for Aquaculture Permitting Pathway (MAPP) for future applicants to follow.

extension agent educating on mangrove species identification

Environmental Literacy & Workforce development

Florida Sea Grant developed video series to train landscapers and arborists to trim mangroves

Mangroves protect Florida’s shorelines from storm surges and coastal flooding. The important plant is protected in Florida, however, there is often a lack of understanding about the rules that govern trimming of these important plants. To help, ensure legally-correct mangrove trimming, Florida Sea Grant produced educational videos in English and Spanish that cover mangrove species identification, tools, personal protective equipment, and best trimming practices. The video series was utilized at a virtual mangrove trimming workshop with 66 industry professionals in attendance, and 90% percent identified or performed appropriate pruning cuts following the training.

Looe Key Outplants and Gorgonian Credit NOAA

healthy coastal ecosystems

Florida Sea Grant coordinated response to a new threat to the health of Florida’s coral reef

Florida Sea Grant state and regional Coral Disease Response Coordinators responded to Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD) with a 10-day restoration mission in Dry Tortugas. The collaborative strategy was funded by NOAA through NFWF and consisted of 265 dives to monitor 193 acres in an area encompassing 178,000 square miles, with over 6000 survey points. The results of this response are communicated broadly to stakeholders involved in the development of Florida’s SCTLD Response Plan.

flooded road

Resilient Communities & Economies

South Atlantic Sea Grant Programs Supported a Regional Research Partnership to Promote Coastal Community Resilience

To support the implementation of green infrastructure amidst sea-level rise and coastal flooding, South Atlantic Sea Grant Programs collaborated with NOAA to form a team that worked alongside local and regional agencies to identify and install neighborhood rain gardens in Cape Canaveral, Florida; wetlands restoration in New Hanover County and New Bern, North Carolina; and living shorelines to address roadside erosion in Chatham County, Georgia. The team will assess monitoring tools to evaluate long-term environmental, social, and economic performance.